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Safety management theory and the military expeditionary organization: A critical theoretical reflection

Moorkamp, Matthijs, Kramer, Erik-Hans, Van Gulijk, Coen and Ale, Ben (2014) Safety management theory and the military expeditionary organization: A critical theoretical reflection. Journal of Safety Science, 69. pp. 71-81. ISSN 0925-7535

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Management of safety within organizations has become a key topic within safety science. Theorizing on this subject covers a diverse pallet of concepts such as “resilience” and “safety management systems”. Recent studies indicate that safety management theory has deficiencies. Our interpretation of these deficiencies is that much confusion originates from the issue that crucial meta-theoretical assumptions are mostly implicit or applied inconsistently. In particular, we argue that these meta-theoretical assumptions are of a systems theoretical nature. Therefore, we provide a framework that will be able to explicate and reflect on systems theoretical assumptions. With this framework, we analyze the ability of two frequently used safety management theories to tackle the problem of managing safety of Dutch military expeditionary organizations. This paper will show that inconsistent and implicit application of systems theoretical assumptions in these safety management theories results in problems to tackle such a practical problem adequately. We conclude with a reflection on the pros and cons of our framework. Also, we suggest particular meta-theoretical aspects that seem to be essential for applying safety management theory to organizations.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: safety management theory, general systems theory, military operations, safety management systems, resilience engineering
Subjects: T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
U Military Science > U Military Science (General)
Schools: School of Computing and Engineering
School of Computing and Engineering > Institute of Railway Research
Depositing User: Coen Van Gulijk
Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2015 13:21
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 18:30


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